Real Names: Larry Kevin Ives and Donald George Henry
Nicknames: Kevin (Larry); Don (Donald)
Location: Bryant, Arkansas
Date: August 23, 1987
Case[edit | edit source]
Details: Shortly after midnight on August 23, 1987, seventeen-year-old Kevin Ives and his best friend, sixteen-year-old Don Henry, set out to go night hunting in the wooded area along the railroad tracks near Don's home in Bryant, Arkansas. Four hours later, a 75-car, 6,000 ton cargo train made its regular night run to Little Rock. It was over a mile long and was traveling at speeds of over 50 miles per hour. As it approached Bryant, engineer Stephen Shroyer noticed something on the tracks. He soon realized that there were two boys laying motionless on them; they were Kevin and Don.
Kevin and Don appeared to be covered by a light-green tarp. Don's .22 rifle lay beside them. They were lying parallel on the tracks. Despite blowing the diesel horn several times, they did not move or react at all. Stephen attempted an emergency stop, but it was too late. They were hit by the train and killed.
The state medical examiner, Dr. Fahmy Malak, determined that Kevin and Don were under the influence of marijuana. He concluded that they had smoked approximately twenty marijuana cigarettes. He believed that they were in a drug-induced coma when they were hit. He ruled their deaths accidental. However, their families did not believe this and were certain that they were murdered. They did not believe they were involved in drugs.
Kevin and Don's families also could not understand why they laid down in identical positions, if they were under such a high influence of marijuana. They also did not believe that they could "sleep" through the loud sound of the diesel horn. Don's father did not believe that he would lay his rifle on the gravel, as he took great care of it and would not want it scratched.
Kevin's family hired a private investigator to look into the case. Every time he would try to question police or other investigating agencies, he met with resistance. They seemed to be unwilling to cooperate or change their opinions about the case. Five months after the deaths, Kevin and Don's parents held a press conference, hoping to get the case reopened. The plan worked; the next day, it was officially done so.
Prosecutor Richard Garrett had Kevin and Don's bodies exhumed for another autopsy. A new pathologist concluded that they had smoked between one and three marijuana cigarettes, much less than what was concluded before. He also found evidence to indicate that one of them was already dead, and the other unconscious, when they were hit by the train. In July 1988, a grand jury reversed the ruling of accidental death and ruled their deaths to probable homicides.
Garrett next focused on the light-green tarp allegedly covering Kevin and Don. Multiple witnesses on the train confirmed seeing it covering them. However, police who were initially on the scene later claimed that Stephen never told them about it. He insists that he did so. Although the initial investigators claimed it didn't exist, Garrett is certain that it was there. Strangely, it was never found.
Six weeks after the case was reopened, Garrett found that a similar case occurred in Hodgen, Oklahoma, in which two young men, Billy Hainline and Dennis Decker, were found lying on railroad tracks and hit in 1984, positioned almost identically to Kevin and Don. However, police have found no suspects in their deaths.
Garrett and Kevin and Don's families are convinced that they were murdered. However, they do not know why the murders were committed. The case remains unsolved.
Suspects: A week before Kevin and Don were killed, an unidentified man wearing military fatigues was spotted in the vicinity of the tracks. His behavior had aroused suspicion. Police officer Danny Allen stopped to question him. Suddenly, he opened fire on Officer Allen. The area was searched, but he was never found.
On the night Kevin and Don were killed, witnesses again saw the man in military fatigues. This time, he was leaving town, heading down a road less than 200 yards from the spot where Kevin and Don were later hit. Police have been unable to locate or identify him.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the October 12, 1988 episode. It was also the subject of a book, "The Boys on the Tracks", by Mara Leveritt, published by Bird Call Press in 1999. It ranks as one of the most remembered one in the series. Scott Johnson and Norman Ladner are two other cases involving youths who might have been murdered after observing drug drops.
Results: Unresolved. Prosecutor Richard Garrett had another autopsy conducted on Kevin and Don; it stated that there was evidence of stab wounds on Don's shirt and that Kevin had apparently been struck in the head with a rifle butt. As a result, the investigation changed from probable homicide to definite homicide.
Tips to the telecenter suggested that Kevin and Don were murdered by drug dealers, and that they may have stumbled onto them with the drugs. Garrett was later interviewed by Robert Stack; he claimed that there is drug trafficking throughout Bryant that also is connected to several other states. He believes that Kevin and Don stumbled on a drug lab that manufactured methamphetamine and that they were killed as a result. He also suspects that there was some sort of police cover-up involved in the case.
However, no suspects were ever named in the case. In 1995, the investigation into Kevin and Don's murders was officially closed without their killer captured or identified. Their families have conducted their own investigations and are still hoping that the case can be solved.
A local witness later came forward, claiming that on the night of the murders, he saw two police officers beating two boys senseless in a store parking lot before tossing them into a truck and driving away. It is unknown whether or not they were Kevin and Don.
In 1996, Linda Ives released the video, "Obstruction of Justice," detailing the botched investigation and a cover-up of an alleged drug ring in Saline County. Several people have been implicated in this conspiracy which has involved numerous investigations and two grand juries.
In 2018, Billy Jack Haynes, a former wrestler, came forward, claiming that he had witnessed Kevin and Don's murders. However, many do not consider him to be a credible source.
Sadly, Garrett passed away on October 23, 2018 at age 72 without acquiring any resolution to the case.
- Kevin Ives and Don Henry on Unsolved.com
- Obstruction of Justice
- The Train Deaths
- Friends, Train Crew Subpoenaed In Investigation Of Deaths Of Teens
- Malak Ruling In Train Deaths Of Teens Challenged By Pathologist
- Jury asks FBI to probe train deaths in Newton County
- Drugs cause of deaths? Families don't accept explanation
- Marijuana coma? Arkansas parents dispute ruling on sons' deaths
- Parents Doubt Report Blaming Marijuana: Youths' Deaths on Train Tracks Probed
- Second Autopsy Report Concludes Teens Murdered
- Prosecutor says teens hit by train may have seen drug dealers before death
- Prosecutor: Teens’ killer will be brought to justice
- Teens’ parents still hope for justice
- Panel asked to dismiss Malak
- The Lonely Crusade of Linda Ives
- The great Arkansas railway mystery
- Jay Campbell and Kirk Lane vs. Citizens for an Honest Government, Inc. (2001)
- Mother of boy found dead on tracks in 1987 suing United States of America
- Judge to look at files in 1987 deaths of 2 boys found on central Arkansas railroad tracks
- Witness comes forward in 1987 deaths
- SitcomsOnline Discussion of Don Henry and Kevin Ives
- Kevin Ives and Don Henry on Find a Grave
- Richard Garrett Obituary